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Marantz AV7005 AV Processor/Preamp / MM7055 Power Amplifier Review Print E-mail
Tuesday, 21 December 2010
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Marantz AV7005 AV Processor/Preamp / MM7055 Power Amplifier Review
Performance and Conclusion

ImageThe ability to replicate the movie theater experience in the home would have been a dream just ten years ago. Multi-channel components and large screen televisions and projectors were expensive and heavy. Add to that the fact there was little multi-channel content available. Today along with DVDs and Blu-ray discs all mixed in 7.1, plus High Definition digital cable boxes that allow broadcasters to offer 5.1 surround sound, it is a whole new ballgame.
The advancements in home theater components have been dizzying, especially in the past two years, with network and internet connectivity, iPod streaming, HDMI switching, software based room correction and speaker set up all being thrown into the mix of features offered by most major manufacturers. More powerful multichannel receivers and power amps have also brought the home experience closer to the real thing.
Almost every major speaker company now has a line of home theater speakers designed for optimal set up with home theater components. Today, the ability to set up a home theater is only limited by room size and budget. But that being said, for around $500 you can get a very decent AV receiver with plenty of features and good sound quality, with the only compromise being modest power, which may not be in an issue in a small living room or bedroom and very efficient speakers. Recently I have really started to enjoy multi-channel HD broadcasts by premium cable channels, the major networks, and of course movies on DVD. I don't currently have a Blu-ray player, but that may change sooner than later. The new breed of Blu-ray components is blurring the lines between AV receivers and disc spinners.

AV7005 front

The subjects of this review are two brand new multi-channel components from Marantz, the AV7005 receiver and MM7055 power amplifier. The AV7005 is priced at $1499 and the MM7055 at $1199. The list of features and the connectivity capabilities of the AV7005 are mind boggling. And that may be an understatement. The MM7005 is a 5 channel power amplifier that is loaded with the company’s latest circuit designs to provide a robust 140 watts per channel. Both units offer both balanced and unbalanced connections.
Set Up:
Setting up the Marantz pair was pretty straight forward. I would estimate that someone who is moderately knowledgeable about home theater components could have these up and running in under an hour. Of course, some tinkering down the road may be needed to achieve the ultimate performance for the specific listening environment where these will find a home. For proper set up, a fairly decent sized rack or cabinet is required, as these are very large components. The power amp alone weighs 35 lbs. Although neither unit seemed to create much heat, even after hours of use, Marantz does recommend decent space for ventilation. They also strongly advise against stacking other components on top of either.
The basic connections between the units included 5 single ended interconnects, one for each channel, and a remote trigger that allows the 7005 to power on and off the 7055. I connected all five of my speakers to the binding posts on the 7005, which accepts either bare wire or banana connectors. Next I ran a line out from the 7005 to my powered subwoofer, then I connected my sources, which include a digital cable box, an Oppo DVD player, and a Panasonic DVD recording deck. All were connected via HDMI cables, which carries both audio and video. Lastly, I ran an HDMI cable out to my Vizio 55 inch HDTV.

AV7005 Rear

 After the physical set up, one must configure the system using the 7005’s menu, deciding between manual or automatic set up. I chose to use automatic set up via the on board, highly regarded Audyssey system. I found it to be very impressive, providing accurate measurements and a solid, technically sound final configuration for watching movies, cable TV, and for multi-channel audio. Using Audyssey to set up your system takes ten to fifteen minutes, tops. You plug in the supplied microphone to the front panel and take a series of measurements in up to six listening positions using automated tones generated by the 7005. Audyssey then determines how many and what kind of speakers (small or large) you have, and your listening distance, which is actually very important. It then takes the data and appropriately balances the channels, provides other corrections, then stores the data. I was very pleased with the final set up, and did not make any changes after my final set of measurements. I made several sets of measurements to make sure I was getting accurate readings.

Performance and Features:
After all the fiddling, I got down to the business of exploring what the Marantz pair had to offer performance wise. Over the next month or so my wife and I watched hours and hours of digital cable, and DVDs. I also cued up some audio on some multi-channel DVD-As. I can say without hesitation the sound quality and ease of use was off the charts good. I judge that by how crystal clear dialogue was when watching movies and digital cable. Surround mixes were remarkable in their life like spread of ambient sounds while watching TV shows and DVDs. Random sounds like telephone rings, sirens, and doors opening and closing were so life like I often would be fooled into thinking my own phone was ringing or that someone had opened the door.


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